Nationals

Chiefs players pay respects to Belcher at service

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Chiefs players pay respects to Belcher at service

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Heads bowed, somber past and present Kansas City Chiefs players turned out Wednesday for a memorial service for teammate Jovan Belcher, who killed his girlfriend and then himself over the weekend.

Belcher fatally shot 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins on Saturday at the Kansas City home they shared with their 3-month-old daughter, Zoey. He then drove to the Chiefs practice facility at Arrowhead Stadium, where coach Romeo Crennel, general manager Scott Pioli and defensive assistant Gary Gibbs witnessed Belcher commit suicide.

The team moved up its practice schedule so that players could attend Wednesday afternoon's service at the nearby Landmark International Deliverance and Worship Center, where Belcher and Perkins worshipped. The media wasn't allowed inside.

Afterward, a coffin was wheeled from the building and driven away in a hearse.

Retired Chiefs Hall of Famer Bobby Bell said Pioli and an uncle of Belcher's spoke during the service.

``It's done and over with and people need to get on with their lives, and the team needed to try to get forward,'' Bell said. ``It's tough on them. When you see somebody and play with them you're buddies, friends.''

Many of the players boarded coach buses after the service, but a few walked to their own vehicles with their wives and girlfriends.

``It was good,'' running back Peyton Hillis said of the service. He wouldn't comment further.

Defensive end Ropatisp Pitoitua, kicker Ryan Succop, and linebacker Derrick Johnson said they didn't want to be interviewed.

Before the service, veteran offensive lineman Ryan Lilja said he hoped the memorial would provide some closure for the Chiefs, who will try to win their second straight game Sunday at Cleveland.

``You got to try to deal with it however you deal with it, and grieve the best way for the individual,'' he said, ``and I think this is the best way for us as a team to get closure and move on and focus on football.''

Lilja said some players have taken advantage of counseling services that have been provided by the Chiefs and the NFL and that there's been a change in the atmosphere around the team building.

``There definitely is more, `How you doing? How you feeling? How you coping?''' Lilja said. ``There's definitely more of that, and people leaning on each other, and be an ear when they need it. Guys are going to deal with this on an individual basis.''

Pastor Sylvarena Funderburke, who serves at Repairers of the Breach Christian Center in Kansas City, said she was at the service to sing ``I Won't Complain,'' a song the Belcher family requested.

``It is an honor. We don't always understand why things happen,'' she said before the service. ``That's when you have to rely on your faith and just trust God to give you strength to make it through tough times.''

Karen Young, who belongs to the Landmark church and serves as an usher, said Belcher and Perkins went to the church ``practically'' every week until the baby was born but hadn't been seen much since then.

Larry Brown, who also attends the Landmark church, said Belcher was ``gentle'' and ``caring'' and Perkins ``a real nice person.''

``I believed that they were made for each other,'' said Brown, whose brother is the church's leader, Bishop John L. Brown. ``They didn't appear to be the type of people who just put on facades. They were very happy. She was very genuine. Every time I saw them, they were always laughing.''

The barber shop where Belcher was a regular is in the same strip mall where the church is located. Barber Lee Garron walked over to the memorial service to pay his respects.

``He was a good person,'' Garron said. ``He was. He was like anyone else. You don't know what they are thinking or what is going on in their head. It's like you or me. You just never know.''

Belcher's Chiefs locker remained full of his equipment and personal belongings Wednesday as players quickly showered and dressed in suits for the service. Some said they avoided looking at the linebacker's locker, while others were fine with seeing their teammate's things as he left them.

``I don't have a problem seeing Javon's locker over there,'' defensive back Travis Daniels said.

He said it was important for the team to support the families of everyone involved.

``We're definitely thankful we have the opportunity to see them one last time before they go home and everything,'' Daniels said ahead of the service, referring to relatives who traveled from out of town to attend. ``We definitely want to go and pay respects to him and his family.''

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AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta contributed to this story.

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Nationals Roundup: Rout of Miami guarantees series win for Nats

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Nationals Roundup: Rout of Miami guarantees series win for Nats

The Nationals used Sunday's nine-run offensive outburst to skate past the Marlins, 9-6. The win marks the team's first three-game winning streak of the season. 

Here are your news and notes surrounding the 2019 Washington Nationals as they head into Monday's series finale against the Miami Marlins. 

Players Notes:

NATIONALS (22-31): 

Erick Fedde's second start of the season went well for the 26-year-old. He pitched five scoreless innings of four-hit baseball, walked three Marlins and fanned four. 51 of his 83 pitches were thrown for strikes. 

Washington erupted offensively Sunday. Howie Kendrick enjoyed a 3-for-5 afternoon, including a solo shot and three RBIs.  Anthony Rendon's 6th inning triple marked his first of the season, and brought two across the plate. 

Juan Soto's 8th inning single marked his 10th game (tied career best) in a row he's reached base safely. 

James Borque made his major-league debut Sunday, and it did not go as planned. He fell short of completing one full inning, surrendering four earned runs on three hits and walking two Marlins. He threw 29 pitches. 

MARLINS (16-34):

Miami starting pitcher Caleb Smith was bounced after just three innings. The Nats knocked him for five hits and cashed in for five runs. The 27-year-old entered Sunday's start with a 2.38 ERA. 

Neil Walker had a 2-for-5 afternoon which featured his 8th inning 2-run home run that got Miami on the board. 

Injuries: 

SP Jeremy Hellickson: hamstring, expected to be out until at least May 31

RP Justin Miller: shoulder, expected to be out until at least May 31

SP Anibal Sanchez: hamstring, expected to be out until at least Jun 6

OF Andrew Stevenson: back, expected to be out until at least May 24

1B Ryan Zimmerman: foot, expected to be out until at least Jun 1

RP Koda Glover: elbow, expected to be out until at least Jun 6

RP Trevor Rosenthal: viral infection, Expected to be out until at least May 27

RP Austen Williams: shoulder, expected to be out until at least Jun 13

Coming Up:

Monday, 5/27: Nationals vs. Marlins, 1:05 p.m. ET, Nationals Park 

Tuesday, 5/28: Nationals @ Braves, 7:20 p.m. ET, SunTrust Park

Wednesday, 5/29: Nationals @ Braves, 7:20 p.m. ET, SunTrust Park

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How the Wizards could buy into the second round for another draft pick

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How the Wizards could buy into the second round for another draft pick

The Washington Wizards would probably be smart to add at least one more pick in this year's NBA Draft. They hold the ninth overall selection in the first round, but nothing in the second round. They have no second round picks until 2023 and that one is protected and was acquired in a trade.

Like most teams, they need more young players on cheap contracts with high upside. The best way to find those is in the draft.

The Wizards could always strike a trade to land more picks, either in the first or second round. But they also have the option to purchase a second round pick. 

The Golden State Warriors are well-known for employing that strategy. They got Patrick McCaw in 2016 and Jordan Bell in 2017 by buying into the second round.

The Wizards have been doing their due diligence scouting players who could fall in the second round. They met with a collection of players at the NBA Combine that would not be considered for the ninth pick. 

If Washington wants to add a second round pick, they will have the option to. But it won't be cheap, at least initially.

The whole reason for buying into the second round is to get a player on an inexpensive contract. The Warriors have done it a few times to add depth within the confinement of their championship payroll. 

But you have to pay money to get such a player. There is a maximum money limit tied to the salary cap. Last year, that limit was set at $5.1 million. The price can vary on how high the pick falls in the second round.

Last June, the Rockets paid $1.5 million to land the 52nd pick in the back-end of the second round to take Vincent Edwards of Purdue. The year before, in 2017, the Warriors paid $3.5 million to get the 38th overall pick from the Bulls to take Bell. That $3.5 million was more than the total contract he then signed with Golden State, about $2.2 million. 

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis would essentially have to sign on for overpaying a young player. During Leonsis' tenure, they have more often been on the other end of such deals.

Former team president Ernie Grunfeld had a habit for trading away second round picks and sometimes only for cash considerations. In 2014, the Wizards infamously traded the pick that became Jordan Clarkson to the Lakers. They received a little less than $2 million in return.

Like anything involving the draft, it is an inexact science. But getting another pick, one way or another, seems like the smart move for the Wizards right now. Buying into the second round is one of their options.

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